Does Innovation Cost A Lot? • Derek Cheshire
How much is a lot? A million dollars may be a lot to some and small change to others.
If you are intending to spend on Innovation then it also depends on exactly what you are buying.
The word Innovation covers a multitude of activities but at the very basic level, you can create new ideas for products or services for very little cost.
As a rule of thumb, I have noticed whilst conducting idea generation workshops that in order to obtain an idea worth considering further we need to generate at least 10 ‘off the wall ideas’. Furthermore, to get a single idea worth investigating or developing we need at least 10 of these ideas.
So the ‘golden ratio’ is approximately 100 to 1. If you know how many ideas you need then this will give you a handle on the amount of time you must set aside. How you do this in an organisation is up to you.
Ideas are only just the start. What sort of system do you have for capturing ideas? You need to capture as much information as possible for future recall. Does this system work for ideas that come ‘out of the blue’?
Everything you do must be evaluated in some way so who judges? Is it the boss, a group of experts, a focus group or perhaps naive bystanders? Children are naturally good at this, if they don’t ‘get it’ you will know immediately.
Is that it? Well no. You need methods of trying things out (playing or prototyping) and capturing learning. Hopefully everything goes well but there are some failures (do you remember Coca Cola Black?).
There is no more is there? Well yes. If you are going to manufacture something as a result of your innovation activity then this may involve some extra costs also which you may wish to factor into your overall innovation cost or recover from sales. If you have never followed the path of innovation before then you may spend money on organisational culture and behaviour.
Also please stay away from the Black Hole of Innovation. It can become a drain rather than a return on investment. Read more about Black Holes. Do not be put off though, the gains can far exceed the costs.
Let’s see about fine tuning your innovation efforts